Friday, March 21

Amy Harmon - Making Faces

“Victory is in the battle.” 

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.


Fern fell in love with Ambrose Young when she was just a child and because she wasn't pretty she never felt like being with him is a possibility for her. When there's a chance Fern hops onto it and gets to know Ambrose like no one else does, but when the truth comes out he rejects Fern which lifts the girls hopelessness to another level. When Ambrose comes home from the war Fern won't give up til she can crack his shell and make him feel whole again.

I had huge expectations toward Making Faces and thankfully the author didn't fail me. This book wasn't what I thought it would be, it was so much more. I loved every minute of reading it because it was sweet and had lovely characters. I expected the love to completely rule the story, it was a major theme BUT there are so much more into this book: friendship, family, grief, healing, losses. It was an a-freaking-mazing book, it's an emotional roller coaster, sometimes it was funny and laughable, sometimes sad or hopeless. No matter what went down, every part made me feel, and I think this is one of the most amazing thing a book can do to you. 

The first part of the book was a little bit slow, but necessary, this was the base of the story where we got to know Fern, Bailey, Ambrose and lots and lots of others who were just as amazing as the three of them. 

It added to the story that we got to know the four friends showed by Ambrose and they seemed real. They were different, some of them were mean (cough Beans) so they weren't made to look perfect. I saw in so many books that the writer made the dead characters seem too perfect and unrealistic or they just wrote about the death, but we never get to know the character who is already dead and who we should feel sorry for, which is terrible because they you don't have the chance to love and grieve them. 

This book is one of those that completely sucks you in and won't let you go not even after you are finished. It was really well written, even if it talks about major issues and the theme is dark it wasn't depressing at all. 
I loved the writing, how Amy Harmon could make time flew by without us realising how quickly the story's moving. The characters aged before our eyes, realising what's important and what's not, they gave us words to live by despite their age. 

“This last year I've felt like one of those snowflakes we used to make in school. The ones where you fold the paper a certain way and then keep cutting and cutting until the paper is shredded. That's what I look like, a paper snowflake. And each hole has a name. And nobody, not you, not me, can fill the holes that someone else has left. All we can do is keep each other from falling in the holes and never coming out again.” 

The Characters: 

She is such a sweetheart, she genuinely cared about Bailey, not because she had to but because she loved him with all her heart. When they were little she got that Bailey was different, that he doesn't see things as others do and that he is more valuable than any other healthy kid. 

Her love for Ambrose was just as wonderful, she never once hesitated when she saw his ruined face, she never cared about it because for her nothing changed. She didn't fell in love with Ambrose because of his looks, it impressed her but she fell in love with him because of the things he did, even as a child. The letters didn't make her feelings go away, they made her love him so much more, because she got to know the real Ambrose. 

She was shy and awkward, but she had the guts like not many others, she confronted Ambrose when the letter thing got out and had the courage to ask him if he liked her answers or not. Maybe some of you will think because Fern was so damn shy she wasn't strong, this is not true. She's one of the strongest heroines in the books I've read so far, maybe in a quiet way, still it is true. 

“I promised myself that if you came home I wouldn’t be afraid to tell you how I felt. But I’m still afraid. Because I can’t make you love me back.” 

“There isn't heartache if there hasn't been joy. I wouldn't feel loss if there hadn't been love.” 

“Scripture comforts me, and romance novels give me hope." 
"Oh yeah? Hope for what?" 
"Hope that I'll be doing more than quoting scripture with Ambrose Young in the very near future".”  

I liked his character well enough, but sometimes I felt bad, because of how he treated Fern in the past. For me it seemed like he WAS concerned about Fern's looks, I would never get why did he stay angry at Fren for so long. Yeah the letter incident wasn't fair, he poured out his soul to a girl who hid behind someone else's name I can get why he didn't comfort Fren even when he realised she had a major crush on him. BUT I will never get why he didn't dance with her at Prom, it would have been a small thing for him, but a big thing for Fren. 

I loved all the other things in him, I loved how he slowly got over the deaths of his friends, he needed time and Fern's help and even Bailey's, but he could get past this after a while. The love between him and his father showed that no matter if someone is your blood relative or not, you can still be a FAMILY. Poor Elliot he loved Ambrose's mother so much he even asked for an advice from Fern's father the pastor, he wanted to know if he was more good looking maybe the woman would have stayed with him... :( 

“I used to be afraid of going to hell. But now that I'm here, hell doesn't seem so bad.” 

“Everybody who is somebody becomes nobody the moment they fail.” 

It was so sad how he felt like he always had to be the best wrestler to keep people's love (which was kind of true for his so called fans). He seemed like a perfect guy who could never get afraid, but from time to time he was scared of losing, not just the game, but his supporters too. 
He just once questioned if going to Iraq is the right thing to do or not, when one of his teachers told him this: 

“But I'm just telling you right now. The lucky ones are the ones who don't come back. You hear me?” 

I get that he really wanted to help the people, but why did he convince his friends to go off with him? Her reasoning was kind of lame, he said that they could hang out there together, yes because that's what war is about, being with your friends. Oh and the others' answer was that they don't have anything else to do so whatever. Joining the military shouldn't be a decision that you make in five minutes time. 

He felt doubt but he defeated it and would have become an absolutely wonderful soldier fighting for his home, never fearing or losing, but then tragedy struck and made him question everything he believed in. 

“If God saved my life, why didn't he save their lives? Is my life so much more valuable? So I'm special... and they're not?” 

At the end he got back his life and so much more, he got Fern's love and Bailey's supporting.


He was such a funny and supporting character, he had the best advices in one minute and in the other he was making fun of something. Ha was suffering from muscular dystrophy so he had a lot of difficulties in his life, but he defeated them all. He had to be in a wheelchair since he was 12 and according to statistic most kids borning with this disease die before the age of 20. He beat the statics and who knows what would happened if things work out differently? 
He was a total fanboy of Ambrose Young and wrestling, it's not a surprise considering his dad was the coach of the team. 
He loved Fern like a sister and loved Rita to the moon and back. I felt so damn bad for him, because he was amazing and would have deserved something more from life than he got. The most amazing thing about him was that he never felt like that, sometimes he lost his courage, but most of the time he believed in a better world and wanted to make the most out of life as long as he could. 

“Do you think there’s any way someone like Ambrose could fall in love with someone like me?”
“Only if he’s lucky.”
“Oh, Bailey.” Fern shook her head, but loved him for saying it…and even more for meaning it.”  

“I keep thinking that maybe you and I could take a road trip and tell all the girls we meet along the way that we’re both vets. You’ve got a messed up face and my war wounds have put me in this chair. You think they’d believe it? Maybe then I could get some action. Problem is, how am I going to get a handful of tit if I can’t lift my arms?” 

I liked her but she was nothing considered to the other three, I'm a little mad at her for making Fern write those letters, she should have seen how they affected Fern, but I know if this didn't happen the whole story would be a lot different. 
I never got how she could settle down with that abusing asshole and how could she always go back to him after everything, it's not like she was ever really in love with him, so what's the big deal? I know they had a baby, but what good does it make for him if he has to grow up with an abusive father? 

This book was so good... much more than what you'd think seeing the description or the cover. It isn't really angsty sometimes more likely cute and funny, I love each and every character, besides the bad ones but they were well-made too. I'll definitely read more books from Amy Harmon, because in Making Faces she seems like an amazing writer. 

I'd recommend the book for anyone and everyone :)

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 5/5
The characters: 5/5
The cover: 3/5
All in all: 4,25/5

Favorite character: Fern, Bailey 

Least favorite: -

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